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Social dialogue institutions pledge to tackle inequalities in the world of work

ATHENS (ILO News) – Urgent action is needed to combat inequalities in the world of work, say Economic and Social Councils and other similar social dialogue institutions (ESCs-SIs).

Following a two-day conference in Athens, 23-24 November, they adopted a declaration committing to enhance action towards the development and implementation of national policies to reduce and prevent inequalities in the world of work, through social dialogue. Such policies will respond to national circumstances, needs and priorities, based on tripartite consensus.

They called for support in their efforts from the International Labour Organization and the International Association for Economic and Social Councils and similar institutions (AICESIS).

ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo, emphasized the urgency of tackling inequalities as an integral part of global efforts to promote social justice. “Social dialogue must underpin all these initiatives. Because only when governments work side-by-side with representatives of employers and workers can truly sustainable solutions to inequalities be crafted and effectively implemented,” he said.

Participants from 36 countries/territories, representing governments, employers and workers and other members of ESC-SIs, exchanged their experiences – both challenges and success stories – in combating inequalities in their national contexts.

Representatives from the International Organization of Employers (IOE), International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and other international organizations, offered a global perspective on inequalities and the action needed to reduce and prevent them.

“Inequalities are the antithesis of social justice. As long as the divide between rich and poor, and between women and men, keeps widening, and as long as certain groups are excluded from opportunities and sharing in the benefits of growth and development, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals will remain an elusive target” said Manuela Tomei, ILO Assistant Director-General for governance, rights and dialogue. “No single government, social partner organization or multilateral institution can address inequalities alone. We need to build strong partnerships and work hand-in-hand with each other to be able to reduce and prevent them in the longer term.”